Sonoma County communities have a long history of working together to implement and promote initiatives to protect the environment and conserve natural resources.
In 2009, Sonoma County became the first in the nation to create a Regional Climate Protection Authority, a move that recognized both the magnitude of the challenge and the cross-jurisdictional nature of addressing climate change and reducing GHG emissions. If ever an issue called for coordinated, multi-partner efforts, it is climate change — progress depends on our local communities working together.
A countywide GHG reduction goal—as opposed to individual goals for each jurisdiction—recognizes the shared nature of the challenge as well as the fact that Sonoma County communities each have a different capacity to achieve GHG reductions; smaller communities typically have fewer opportunities to achieve substantial GHG reductions. Thus, although every community may not reduce its emissions to 25% below 1990 levels by 2020, the combined efforts of all local governments and countywide partners will reach that goal for Sonoma County as a whole.
The communities of Sonoma County are using regional collaboration, innovative governance, and efficient use of resources to ensure that the benefit of climate action by individual entities is greater than if each city or the county tackled climate change alone.
The RCPA, with its goal of connecting regional policy and local policy, is a model for small and medium sized communities banding together to create value from solutions to climate change. This model helps overcome the disconnect between state and regional policy goals and the needs and capabilities of local communities.
The RCPA builds on the Sonoma County Transportation Authority’s capacity to collaborate on long-term planning and oversee major capital projects, and provides a forum for regional policy dialogue and a framework to pool and align resources. RCPA provides an opportunity for small actions to become collective and to coordinate regional policy in a way that would be impossible for local governments alone. It strives to support, expand, and replicate successful programs being implemented by members and partners, and to fill gaps in local climate response.
Local Government Partners
There are a number of local government entities that support the RCPA and lead efforts to ensure a prosperous and healthy future for all of Sonoma County including: